WCE 2017: Perceptions and Practice Patterns of Holmium Laser Goggles in Endourological Procedures: an Unnecessary Evil?

Vancouver, Canada (UroToday.com) Dr. Nicholas Paterson, from the Ottawa Hospital, presented his survey data on holmium laser goggle use among urologists. The holmium laser is used for a variety of procedures and is commonly used by urologists. However, the safety practices regarding use of the holmium laser vary greatly from institution to institution. Safety goggles rated for the holmium laser are mandatory according to the safety policies governing many centers. However, recent studies have presented data that suggests standard eyewear may work just as well at a lower cost. 

To evaluate the patterns of use across different centers, Dr. Paterson and team sent out an email survey to 2000 urologists. 263 urologists completed the survey and 97% responded that they routinely used the holmium laser in their practice. 

Following analysis of the survey data, Dr. Paterson and team found that the majority of participants had formal laser safety training, institutional safety policies regarding laser safety, and a dedicated laser safety officer (76%, 64% and 54% respectively). Interestingly, only 50% responded that they actually wore laser eye goggles. Additionally, only 40% said that their preferred eyewear was laser goggles and 60% responded that laser goggles impaired their vision. 

Dr. Paterson concluded that the survey results confirm that laser safety practices do vary greatly across institutions. He added that no participants had ever reported an eye injury with the holmium laser and that when shown data that standard eyewear may be just as good as laser google, only 14% of participants said that they would continue wearing laser goggles. Lastly, he added that laser goggles should be optional and that this would provide cost savings to many institutions. 

Presented by: Nicholas Paterson 

 Authors: Nicholas Paterson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, John Denstedt, Brian Blew, James Watterson
Affiliation: University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Written by: Renai Yoon, Department of Urology, University of California-Irvine at the 35th World Congress of Endourology– September 12-16, 2017, Vancouver, Canada.